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Executor Responsibilities during a Probate Proceeding

Yorkville and Kendall County Executor and Probate Attorneys

A person appointed to the role of Executor during a probate proceeding has the responsibility of dividing and distributing a person’s assets when that person passes away. There is a lot of legal jargon involved and it may be an intimidating task. It is important to understand what goes into the role of Executor and what the process looks like. This makes the process much easier and more smooth for the Executor.

Cost

The Executor does not pay for the cost of the probate process. It is paid by the assets of the estate. Costs typically come in the form of attorney fees, court filing fees, and any appraisal needed.

What is Included in the Probate Process?

The first thing to understand is what a probate is and how the process works. Probate is the term used for the legal process in which a deceased person’s Will or Estate (without a Will) is administered. The process looks different depending on whether the person who is deceased had a Will made while they were alive or if they did not. In the event the deceased person did not have a Will made, a person is selected to be an administrator of the Estate. The Executor, among other things, has the task of compiling a list or inventory of the assets of the Estate. The  Executor also must make sure any claims that are made against the Estate are paid, and finally, the Executor must distribute whatever is left of the Estate to the appropriate heirs of the deceased.

Will vs. No Will

If the deceased person did have a Will, the very first step is to make sure the Will is valid. Once it is determined to be valid, meaning there has been an Executor already appointed and there is a solid plan distributing assets, the probate process continues. An Executor is the person appointed by the deceased to carry out the terms of their Will. It is crucial that the Executor be organized and keep good documentation throughout the probate process. This makes the process not only easier for the Executor, but the court as well. There are several responsibilities an Executor holds once the probate process has begun. This includes: keeping inventory of the deceased’s property until it can be distributed as per the terms of the Will, managing any and all affairs of the Estate, paying taxes and claims made by creditors, and finally distributing assets as per the terms of the Will.

Roles of the Executor

The first task the Executor takes on is organizing the property of the deceased for the probate process. It is possible, depending how the property is owned, that the probate process is not even needed. For example, if a certain property is owned jointly by the deceased and another person, that property directly passes on to the surviving owner, no probate necessary. Another example is if the property is question is included in a Living Trust. If that is the case, the property transfers to the appointed beneficiaries and again, no probate is necessary.

However, the process of a probate can be complicated and technical. It is important that you have an experienced attorney to help you determine whether a probate is necessary. If it is, the attorney can help you through the entire process. Sean Robertson and Gateville Law Firm concentrate in estate planning. Our estate planning lawyers and staff utilize cutting-edge estate planning and asset protection strategies to protect the economic security and peace of mind of our clients and we are eager to assist you with any needs you may have.

How A Probate Begins in Yorkville and Kendall County, Illinois

When it has been determined that the probate process is necessary, a petition must be filed to the court. The Will must be attached to your petition to the court and your attorney will help with this process, filing it to the court on behalf of the Estate. Once the petition is filed with court a hearing will be set at which the court will officially determine the validity of the Will and the Executor is appointed by name. After this step, there is opportunity for a contest to the appointment of the Executor and/or the validity of the Will. If there is no contest, a “Letters Testamentary” is issued by the court. This document gives the Executor the authority to manage any and all affairs of the Estate.

The Executor then must to compile a list or inventory of the assets, including a fair market value of every property and asset of the estate and file this inventory with the court. Additionally, this is when the Executor must complete their duties including making sure any claims that are made against the Estate are paid and then they must distribute the remainder of the Estate to the appropriate heirs. Any taxes that are related to the estate are also to be assessed and paid.

 

Creditors

If there are creditors that make claims on the Estate through the court, the Executor has the responsibility to accept them or reject them. If they are accepted, they are paid through the Estate. If they are rejected, both parties argue before the judge whether the claim should or should not be paid.

End of the Probate Process

Taxes on behalf of the deceased are filled out and submitted to the IRS by the appointed Executor. If there are additional taxes owed on any of the Estate, a form must be submitted to the IRS generally within nine months of the date of death. This form is called a “Form 706.” Your attorney will help you fill out and file these documents. It is important you have an experienced attorney that can help you with these complex documents. Once the taxes are paid, the IRS then issues a letter to close the matter and the court cannot close the case until this letter is filed. After all of the taxes are paid, another letter is filed with the court that records and compiles all the accounting matters that related to the Estate. This must be approved and granted by the court and upon this, the court issues an order giving the Executor authority to divide and distribute whatever is left of the Estate, concluding the probate process.

Skilled and Experienced Probate and Executor Attorney in Yorkville, Oswego, and Kendall County, Illinois

Sean Robertson and Gateville Law Firm concentrate in estate planning. We are passionate about helping families to protect their assets and create a legacy plan.

Attorney Sean Robertson is available at 630-780-1034 or available through an online contact form.

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